Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph completes historic Halyard Park monastery renovation, con
MILWAUKEE – The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph dedicated the altar inside historic St. Francis of Assisi Monastery in Halyard Park. The dedication of the altar marks the official completion of a two-year, top-to-bottom renovation to bring the 38,000 square-foot complex up to modern building and accessibility standards. The Monastery includes office space, dining hall, recreation room, full kitchen, library, guest rooms and other amenities. The altar in the restored Chapel was dedicated today in a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Jeffrey R. Haines, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
For many years prior to this renovation, the monastery had been only partially occupied and used as office space. “The completion of St. Francis of Assisi Monastery and the construction of the new St. Francis of Assisi Capuchin Center represent our recommitment to our historic home in the city of Milwaukee,” said Br. Mark Joseph Costello, OFM Cap., provincial minister of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. “Our Capuchin presence in Milwaukee serving those on the margins goes back 150 years. With this investment, we will continue to accompany our sisters and brothers in Milwaukee for generations to come.”
The historic home for Capuchin friars in Milwaukee
Begun in 1869, St. Francis of Assisi Monastery was constructed on what was then the outskirts of the city on a full city block bounded by Brown, Vel R. Phillips, Reservoir and Fifth Streets. Built in an eclectic, Romanesque-inspired style with Cream City brick, the Monastery was expanded several times in the years that followed. St. Francis of Assisi Church, attached to the Monastery building, opened its doors in 1870 to the then mostly German-speaking faithful of the neighborhood. As the neighborhood changed, the parish continued to serve as a focal point for worship and community.
Among the residents of St. Francis of Assisi Monastery were Servant of God Br. Stephen Eckert (1869-1923), a pioneering advocate for racial justice and pastor at St. Benedict the Moor downtown, and Wisconsin native Blessed Solanus Casey (1870-1957), beatified by Pope Francis in 2017.
Focal point for Capuchin life in Milwaukee
The project was financed by the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph with the assistance of generous donors to the Growing in Community capital campaign. The Monastery brings together active and retired friars of all ages, some of whom minister in Milwaukee at Capuchin Community Services at its two locations: the House of Peace and St. Ben’s Community Meal. Before the re-opening of the renovated St. Francis Monastery, Capuchin friars lived in smaller houses scattered throughout the city. One of these, St. Conrad House in Harambee, will be reborn as the St. Bakhita Catholic Worker House. The house was gifted by the Capuchins and will serve as housing for women survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking in collaboration with Franciscan Peacemakers.
St. Francis of Assisi Monastery houses the Capuchin Postulancy Program, the entry point for young men from the Midwest and other parts of the country discerning a vocation to the Capuchin Franciscan fraternity.
The project architect was Chicago-based MKB Architects. The general contractor was Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based C.D. Smith Construction.
St. Francis Monastery includes:
- Nine ADA-accessible friar bedrooms
- Two ADA-accessible friar bedrooms with nurse’s area
- Eight additional friar bedrooms
- Restored dining rooms, library and meeting rooms
- Office area
- Renovated interior courtyard
- Masonry façade renovation and new windows
- Screened-in porch
- New ADA-accessible entrance at the west end of the complex
- New elevator and staircase
- Guest rooms
- Kitchen storage area
- 10 parking spaces
St. Francis of Assisi Capuchin Center
The Capuchin Center serves as a multi-purpose assembly space for St. Francis of Assisi Parish and the surrounding community.
The building features:
- Accessible entrance
- Accessible lavatories
- Seating for up to 200
- Warming kitchen
- Parish offices
- Large meeting room
- 64 parking spaces
- A new ADA-accessible entrance to the north side of the Church building.
About St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Serving the spiritual and material needs of the community for more than 150 years, St. Francis of Assisi Parish is a ministry of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. The Parish is a vibrant and diverse community of faithful who, in the spirit of St. Francis, put the Gospel into action, The House of Peace, part of Capuchin Community Services, was founded by laypeople and friars of St. Francis of Assisi Parish following the 1967 uprising.
About the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph
The mission of the friars of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph is transforming the world through reverence. Established at Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin in 1857, the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph is part of the international community of friars following the rule of St. Francis of Assisi. The brothers of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in Detroit, serve in a variety of ministries including social service, schools, chaplaincy, retreat house and parishes in Illinois, Michigan, Montana and Wisconsin.
# # #
SOURCE: Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph